A Key Attraction at the Collier County Museum in Naples
The Dr. Frank C. Craighead, Sr. Laboratory
The Craighead Laboratory is a key attraction and education area for children and adults. A pioneer environmentalist, Dr. Frank Cooper Craighead, Sr., devoted much of his life's work to the study and preservation of Florida's natural resources and beauty. Craighead began his career in 1910 as a forest entomologist with the US Department of Agriculture. He made his first visit to South Florida in 1915 to investigate disease caused by beetles in pine trees and developed an immediate interest in the region's abundant plant and wildlife.
Dr. Craighead retired as Chief of Forest Entomology and moved to Homestead , Florida , in 1956. For the next 22 years, he studied South Florida's ecology and natural sciences for the Everglades National Park and National Geographic Society. He and his wife, Carolyn, moved to Naples in 1968.
A leading authority on Florida's native plants and water resources, Dr. Craighead's scientific research, publications and personal dedication contributed to a growing national concern for the preservation of the Everglades and South Florida's wetlands. In 1976, Governor Reubin Askew officially honored Dr. Craighead as the “Scholar of the Everglades ” and joined the Collier County Commission in proclaiming November 16th as “Dr. Frank C. Craighead, Sr. Day.”
His field laboratory was moved to the Collier County Museum grounds and restored in 1987. It was dedicated on November 16, 1992 by Carolyn Johnson Craighead, and is open to the public and used by scholars and students on a regular basis. The Craighead Archaeological Laboratory is operated and staffed by members of the Southwest Archaeological Society (SWFAS) to process and archive archaeological material from local sites.
THE HISTORY OF THE CRAIGHEAD LABORATORY FEBRUARY 1987 TO OCTOBER 1999
THE SWFAS CRAIGHEAD ARCHAEOLOGICAL LABORATORY
AT THE COLLIER COUNTY MUSEUM, NAPLES, FLORIDA
THE HISTORY OF THE CRAIGHEAD LABORATORY
FEBRUARY 1987 TO OCTOBER 1999
By Arthur R. Lee
by John Furey, President, SWFAS 2019
Art Lee was the Director of the Craighead Lab for SWFAS from it’s opening on March 6, 1988 to his resignation on August 2002, and put his heart and soul into making it a success. He was also an editor of the Newsletter and a prolific writer that contributed to the articles that SWFAS published as well as the newsletter. In the early days of the lab, Art was the driving force of improvement and innovation. Between December 1999 and August 2000, Art wrote a seven- part history of the lab that was published in installments in the SWFAS Newsletter. A fitting introduction to the series was written by the then Acting SWFAS Newsletter Editor John Beriault. The SWFAS operated Craighead Archaeological Laboratory at the Collier County Museum was and continues to be a crucial and integral part of the mission of our Society and this history is a testament to the hard work and long- term dedication of the members of SWFAS. This is a compilation of the seven articles in one place to facilitate ease of access and reading.
THE CRAIGHEAD LABORATORY
by John Beriault, Acting SWFAS Editor, December, 1999
Most everyone who has been a member of SWFAS for a bit is aware that Art Lee is our long-time director of the Craighead Laboratory, a professional-class archaeological research facility our Society maintains at the Collier County Museum. Art, at the urging of several of the other laboratory people, has written an excellent history on how the lab came into being and some of the notable events connected with the facility. I find this effort by Art important on several levels: It shows that nothing of lasting worth is ever accomplished with ease- or at least without a few hitches. The history itself and the interplay of individuals is worth recording. Finally, I think the membership needs to know what an important facility it supports. Our legacy will be the information and reports the Craighead Laboratory creates and disseminates- that’s how we will be remembered through our individual efforts – and as a group, years after one, the other, or all of us are gone.
HISTORY OF THE CRAIGHEAD LABORATORY: PART I
by Arthur R. Lee, SWFAS Newsletter, December 1999
A Salvage Operation
In February, 1987, Collier County Museum director Ron Jamro got word that a 16-by-24 building that had stood by the pond behind the sheriff’s office in the county governmental complex was to be abandoned as office space and used for oil and paint storage. He was horrified, for the building had been used as a wilderness laboratory and office by the late Frank C. Craighead, Ph. D-venerated as an early and effective voice on behalf of saving the Everglades and had been given to the county for safekeeping on his death. The intended new use would spell its end
Jamro notified John Beriault who, he knew, as a young man had been permitted to accompany Dr. Craighead on environmental excursions, and the pair developed a plan to have the building saved for use as a headquarters and lab by the Southwest Florida Archaeological Society, of which Beriault was president.
Negotiations with the county followed, complicated by the fact that the museum was temporarily owned by a support organization, Friends of the Collier Museum, which had assumed responsibility for moving the Museum to its present location and greatly enlarging it- work done more expeditiously by private citizens than by government. Broadly, the arrangement reached obliged SWFAS to assume much of the cost of moving the building in return for its use. An agreement to that effect was signed with the board of county commissioners March 1, 1987 and the building was moved to the new site March 23.
A major cost element was construction of the foundation. Its excavation- at the site currently occupied by the yellow building on the Museum grounds- represented the first physical work done by SWFAS at the lab. A charter SWFAS member, Guy Fischer, constructed the forms for the concrete footings, and on a day of sweat and expectations the concrete trenches were dug and filled. Fischer later built the landing and stairs to the back door, carefully designed to permit passage of drying rack trays. Refusing help, he commented: “If it’s going to have my name on it, it’s going to be right”. He built it so strong that it later withstood the lab’s being moved to a different location.
Paying attendant costs became a major preoccupation for SWFAS: A special garage sale was held, individuals made donations and the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy contributed $1,000. As with many crises that were to follow, SWFAS squeaked through. But the rosy glow that lighted expectations was not without its shadows.
All had agreed that a front porch should be added to the building, it being apparent that the structure was too small- two sheets of plywood wide and three long- to hold gatherings of any size. And laying out the interior on paper-was relatively easy because the location of its two doors and a closet that had housed a toilet dictated placement of the major lab counter, plumbing and drying rack, leaving three walls available for storage racks and bins, the essentials of any archaeological lab. SWFAS members generally interested in the lab had generally agreed on what was to go where by he time Art Lee was designated to meet with interior decorator Richard F. Geary III, a member of the Museum’s support group, who made it clear at the outset of the session that he had some pretty definite ideas as to how the lab would be set up. Lee was puzzled, since he had no previous knowledge that the friends did, in fact own the building despite the arrangement SWFAS had made with the county commission, and had come to the meeting with detailed drawn plans for the building’s interior arrangements (as, indeed, had Geary). Once the matter of proprietorship was understood, they settled down to discussing physical arrangements of the lab, reaching a mutual understanding on layout as well as the type of floor and counter coverings to be used, and the location of the lights.
HISTORY OF THE CRAIGHEAD LAB: PART II
by Arthur R. Lee, SWFAS Newsletter, January 2000
A Window on the Lab
No mention was made at that meeting of the alteration that greeted SWFAS members eyes when they next visited the structure: Most of the front wall had been torn out to make room for an immense window, which posed a security threat and- fully as important- removed a third of the available wall storage space. Though SWFAS members were critical at the time, the window is handsome and has served to give thousands of school children and adults, a glimpse of a serious side of archaeology.
No one argued with other changes that were made by the Friends of the Museum organization to give the building a South Florida look – addition of a false aluminum roof and attractive siding – nor with the air conditioning and fluorescent lighting it installed. Though there were delays, the bulk of the work was essentially completed by year’s end.
On January 21, 1988, SWFAS was given official permission to go to work on the interior, and volunteers put in some long hours. A SWFAS carpenter installed new wall panels and an additional layer of plywood flooring for strength; joists were moved to accommodate the new lighting system and members put up new ceiling panels. Jack Thompson, with his engineering skills, rescued volunteers buffered by the problem of matching beveled ends of ceiling trim. A ditching machine laying irrigation pipe was shanghaied into digging a channel for plastic piping tapped, without ceremony into a potable water main. The drying rack was installed and screened drying trays were fabricated by Walt Buschelman and Art Lee.
Charlie Strader’s pickup truck was drafted to haul a miscellany of Museum furnishings that had taken up residence in the building to and from temporary storage to permit the interior work, including installation of the counter top, to be done by SWFAS volunteers. The storage space was donated by Bill Jones of Tamiami Builders.
A major part of SWFAS’s contribution to the renovated museum complex was a replica Indian Mound, erected north of the lab. The creation considered of a heap of dirt on either side of a wooden walkway, one formed around a plastic- faced box within which John Beriault had laid deposition layers with artifacts as they would have been exposed by an archaeological excavation. Despite days of unseasonable rains, the creation was rushed through to completion in time for the Museum’s official opening February 15, 1988. (Rain water that seeped into the enclosure ultimately caused weeds to sprout and flourish in the cutaway display, forcing its removal and the elimination of the “Indian Mound”).
The lab’s turn to be officially opened came Sunday March 6, with the installation of a plaque containing a picture of the late Dr. Craighead, the memento of a banquet offered by the Naples community some years before to honor the distinguished scientist. Present were his widow, Carolyn, then in her 90’s; sons Frank Jr. and John, themselves known for their work in zoology, and daughter Jean Craighead George, an award- winning author. (Mrs. Craighead was to become an occasional visitor to the lab, stopping in the course of walks around the Museum grounds with a companion which continued until her death in April, 1993 at the age of 103). The preceding Tuesday evening, March 1, a score of SWFAS members and county officials had met at the lab over coffee and sandwiches to observe the first anniversary of the contract giving the society use of the building.
(A progress report published that month noted that, pending the construction of permanent shelving and racks of draws, the lab would use metal shelving, surplus to the Museum. Eleven years later the metal shelving is still in place, the permanent storage yet to be fabricated).
HISTORY OF THE CRAIGHEAD LAB: PART III
by Arthur R. Lee, SWFAS Newsletter, February 2000
The Monkey Cage
Tuesday, April 5 (1988 ed.), marked an interesting episode in the lab’s relations with the county government. A middle level official, Kevin O’Donnell, had insisted that the public have free access to the lab building during all hours that the Museum would be open. SWFAS could not recruit enough volunteers to staff the facility for so many hours, and it could not ill afford the necessary public liability insurance. After protracted negotiations, SWFAS agreed to build a hog-wire cage ceiling high that would enclose an area four feet to a side inside the front door in which visitors could stand without danger to instruments or artifacts on work tables; the cage, in turn, had a wire door leading to the interior of the ab, which would be padlocked when the lab was not staffed. April 5 the last screw of the “monkey cage” as it came to be called, was driven home. It was to remain in place until a different arrangement was made for SWFAS’ use of the building. The next day Alice Ash, Jean Belknap, Virginia Beville, and Mary and Walt Buschelman, Art Lee and Virginia Reed met to decide on regular lab hours – Thursday and Saturday mornings.
Tuesdays were added later and Saturdays were abandoned for lack of interest and difficulty in meshing with Museum schedules (on one occasion tab workers arrived to find Seminole dancers using the lab as a dressing room).
A dramatic episode in the establishment of a working relationship between a volunteer organization with scientific pretensions and a public government institution was to occur on May 26, 1988. SWFAS had learned that at a scheduled session of the board of directors of the Friends organization the matter of SWFAS’ use of the lab building was to be discussed, and packed the meeting with 17 representatives. The Friends raised questions regarding payment of certain construction charges, which SWFAS agreed to look into, and the problem of staffing the facility raised by O’Donnell was settled by agreement to provide a written schedule. Since that episode relations between the county and SWFAS, though changed over time, have been rational and the Museum and lab staffs have sought out ways of making the relationship work to mutual advantage. From the outset SWFAS staffers have been regarded as Museum Volunteers, a relationship strengthened in May with the appointment of anthropologist Nancy E. Olsen as curator with incidental responsibility for lesion with SWFAS Later, in 1995, she was given honorary membership in recognition of her many activities in support of SWFAS.
HISTORY OF THE CRAIGHEAD LABORATORY: PART IV
by Arthur R. Lee, SWFAS Newsletter, March 2000
Out of the Mud
Work for other organizations was undertaken for the first time that year. More than 600 artifacts recovered from Gault Island were cleaned, numbered and inventoried in preparation for their being incorporated in a display being readied by the Florida State Museum of Natural History for the Museum of the Islands, then just being formed on Pine Island. In November a major collaboration was established with a University of Florida crew doing an archaeological analysis of Horr’s Island; it involved use of a storage facility in East Naples as a drop point for material en route to and from the lab where it was cleaned and given a preliminary analysis. A later, major operation of that type was undertaken in August, 1993, when volunteers in the course of several sessions cleaned and analyzed 70 bags of shell removed by the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy from a disturbed area in the Bonita Bay development; a sizable contribution toward lab expenses resulted.
In February, 1990, the lab was moved, being set on its new location in the northeast corner of the Museum grounds. The Museum had obtained the 6th historic residence and needed for it the space that had been occupied by the lab. In preparation, materials and equipment were moved back to the B&B lot, valuable instruments went to the Museum vault, and the Lee’s home work room was set up as a temporary lab. Restoration of the building to a working laboratory coincided with SWFAS’ hosting the annual meeting of the Florida Anthropological Society, making for a busy period. Heroes of the move were Jean Belknap and Walt Buschelman, who dug a trench 300 feet long, two feet deep and one shovel wide for the lab’s water line from the main Museum building to the new location, breaking a deadlock with the utilities people and getting the lab back in operation.
Lab volunteers were delighted to note that the Museum had added to the back of the lab building a wooden platform, the planks spaced to permit drainage, where artifacts could be washed; that operation in the original location had been a muddy affair. The Museum added a double sink later.
The move changed the lab’s physical ambiance completely. Where it had been standing by itself in the open, it became a part of a corner of the Museum grounds reserved for native trees and other plants, shaded and with cover for birds, a delightful setting.
A year after the move to the new location, on February 19, 1991, the lab’s official status changed to its present form. The Society had petitioned the County Commission to be relieved of its original agreement - under which the lab building had been saved from destruction – citing the financial burden of liability insurance it was obliged to carry since it was regarded as a public facility. A delegation from SWFAS had asked that the organization be allowed to continue its work at the lab – as volunteers of the Museum. In an “executive summary” filed with the commission, Museum Director Ron Jamro had stated that since 1987 the Society had upheld its duties under its agreement and had operated the lab in a ‘safe and conscientious manner” and that its members as volunteers had been of service to the Museum.
HISTORY OF THE CRAIGHEAD LABORATORY: PART V
by Arthur R. Lee, SWFAS Newsletter, April 2000
The Storage Problem
The perennial storage problem was slightly eased in July 1991 when P.W. Quails constructed a wooden cabinet with sliding drawers to hold part of the growing comparative collection. Early in the lab’s operation it became apparent that analysts needed specimen animal bones and shells to help identify the left -overs from meals eaten long ago that appear in test pits. The first was a complete skeleton of a racoon found on Gault Island. Charlie Strader found a road 01 fox, and buried it to let nature reduce it to bone – the start of a small cemetery as other animals lost the right of way to cars. A Pine Island fisherman contributed several small fish not now commonly caught. Workers back yards became repositories for fish remains; Jean Belknap, whose fishing expeditions with her brother, yielded nature – prepared bones of alligator and manatee (ai4 duly registered with the state authorities) became skilled at separating bones from fur, and Walt Buschelman perfected a technique for bleaching bones. Fish markets became used to requests for fish heads from which otoliths – excellent for species identification could be extracted and added to the examples. John Dante had contributed from his consider-able collection. An opossum chose a lot next to Dante’s home as a place to die, and John Beriault contributed several sets of bones he had come across. A state license was applied for and granted to maintain the collection, kept in serviceable condition by Ella May Ablahat. The lab, by the way, still welcomes (fresh) road kills.
More storage for specimens was provided in 1995 when the Museum made available a large metal specimen cabinet. Still later the Museum permitted SWFAS to erect shelves in part of a garage it had acquired and located adjacent to the lab, a luxury it enjoyed until October, 1999, when a change in Museum operation forced SWFAS to rent commercial warehouse space. Also, in 1995, the Museum gave SWFAS use of a large capacity metric scale. Another major contribution to the lab’s technical arsenal was the donation in March, 1992, by Barbara and Reed Toomey of a flotation barrel, a device to separate out light organic material from column samples, as well as to do normal screening. It has been in periodic use ever since, supplemented by two lab fabricated pairs of screens of 1 mm and 0.5 mm gauge. Rom Jamro, Ray Seguin, Charlie Strader and Linda S. Robinson donated balances and other laboratory equipment. Bob and Jean Belknap have placed on long term loan a diamond-blade saw for use in shell dating. Constructive criticism of the lab’s chair inventory has been made by Elizabeth McCarthy and Jan Gooding who bought their own upgraded. A number of people have helped flesh out the lab’s reference library, including Linda S. Robinson, Annette Snapp, Dr. Robin and Jan Brown, Jean Belknap, Maria Stone, Ella May Ablahat and the Lees. A major contribution to SWFAS’s and the lab’s ability to participate in public events was the construction by Ray Seguin of an elaborate, transportable metal-framed folding exhibit; Eleonore Young put a good deal of time into adapting a previously-prepared exhibit to its format.
Many individuals have helped the lab financially, with contributions ranging from enough to purchase odd bits of equipment to sizable donations; Lois and Stanley Polewka were quick to appreciate the load imposed by the $300 needed for each Carbon 14 date, and others, like Linda S. Robinson and Jim and Sue Long, have joined them in helping defray those costs; John Beriault has been the source of countless assists. The Lab has shared, as well, from major contributions to SWFAS such as the stock donation from Pat and the late Col. Don Randell and a sizable gift from a visitor to Bonita Springs who dropped in at a monthly meeting, joined in a site investigation, and decided that the organization needed a boost – Noma Copley of New York City.
THE FIRST REPORT
A major milestone was passed in September, 1992, when a report on the exploration of Mulberry Midden, a hunting camp just off Immokalee Road near highway I-75, was sent to the printers. Although ad hoc reports had been prepared for various occasions during the lab’s existence, the 36- page report on site 8CR697 was the first comprehensive report on all aspects of the excavation and laboratory analysis of artifacts from a site. Since then, two other formal reports have been printed, on Satin Leaf 8CR766, a tool -manufacturing station on south Marco Island, published in May, 1996, and Heineken Hammock 8CR231, a hunting camp in what is now the Berkshire village area just east of Naples, published in May, 1998. All of the reports, stripped of their voluminous tables, have been printed in the quarterly journal of the Florida Anthropological Society, The Florida Anthropologist, as well.
In a unique experiment in 1992 food shell that had been excavated from a mound on the banks of the Imperial River was sorted, weighed, counted and disposed of at the home of Charlie and Gail Strader, an event of the Society’s annual December picnic.
And the new year 1993, saw the lab undertake a new enterprise. Twenty- one individuals, many SWFAS members but including those from as far away as Lake Placid and Everglades City, attended classes held evenings twice a week in January on basic laboratory techniques. Instructors were lab regulars, Walt Buschelman, Jean Belknap, John Dante, Art and Lynn Lee and John Beriault, who gave a special session on ceramics. The Museum generously installed exterior lights to enable class use of the porch and washing area.
The following year, on October 8, 1994, the lab in conjunction with the Museum arranged for a day-long seminar with Dr. Arlene Fradkin of the Florida Museum of Natural History as visiting lecturer. All 20 available places were taken, some by professionals from as far away as Sarasota. Sessions were in the Museum lecture hall and the lab. Note should be made of the effort workers have made to improve their own skills and knowledge to expand their contributions. All of the regular crew take work home and borrow technical books to study. One Elizabeth McCarthy attended a 1999 workshop on archaeological illustration at the center for American Archaeology.
The Fall of 1993 saw a statewide observance of Archaeology Week, and SWFAS and the Museum participation was wholehearted; Museum grounds were packed with exhibits and demonstrations, and lab workers showed the public all aspects of artifact analysis. All subsequent Archaeology Week observances saw open houses at the lab, with special exhibits and talks in the Museum lecture hall. November, exhibits were placed on the porch during the Museum’s Old Florida Days observance, netting a good audience, a practice repeated in following years.
HISTORY OF THE CRAIGHEAD LABORATORY: PART VI
by Arthur R. Lee SWFAS Newsletter, May 2000
In its very early days, the Museum passed on to the lab a computer surplus to its needs. It was full -sized, too big for the space that could be made for it, and soon was returned. As time went on and the boxes of artifacts to be analyzed grew in number, it was becoming evident to all that hand figuring was resulting in too many answers for the same problems. So, after Capt. Carl Johnson of Bonita Springs in 1993 wrote “Computer Whiz” on his membership application form, he was immediately put to work. Special analysis forms were prepared to feed information into his high-powered machine and the resulting relationship between him and the lab has proved to be permanent, and strengthened by the support Jack Thompson was able to provide after his retirement from the business world.
There was still a need for an inhouse machine, so the lab went abegging. A local computer shop in 1995 donated a (what turned out to be a very) used computer, and Lynn Lee located a table slender enough and with wheels that could be rolled into the closet for safekeeping when not in use. However, the computer was so antiquated and unreliable that when, in 1999, it refused to turn on its monitor, no tears were shed as it was sent on its way to a vocational school for cannibalizing. The board of directors voted for funds for a new one and it is now in operation equipped to work in tandem with Captain Carl.
In this recitation the phrase “SWFAS volunteers” or the word “workers” have been used, with little attempt at individual identification, which obviously, given the stretch of time involved could not complete. During the construction and furnishing phases no personnel records were kept, although later on the Museum wanted a record made of SWFAS workers, in their role as Museum Volunteers, which imposed a discipline of sorts.
Given these limitations, no attempt will be made here to provide a complete list of those who contributed to creation of the lab as an entity, or its function. However, there are many names which crop up repeatedly in accounts of various phases of lab development and which merit inclusion in this account. Work on refurbishing the interior and construction of the back steps and the ill-fated “Indian mound”, as an example, involved Alice Ash, Paul Benedict, James and John Beriault, Virginia Beville, Walter Buschelman, Travis Doering, Ron Jamro, Elvin Konen, Aer and Lynn Lee, Virginia Read, Leo Ruble, Charlie Strader, Jack and Dottie Thompson, Anne and Keith Waterhouse and Mary Ruth Winchell. With actual lab operation some of those named dropped out of the record, and others appeared, such as Jean Belknap, Mary Buschelman and Ray Seguin. Bud and Shirley House won the award for having traveled the greatest distance- from St. James City – to attend an early “wash in”, nosing out Gary Susdorf and his son Brian of Ft. Myers. Added to the roster of those helping when the lab was moved to its present location were Dan Catino, John Dante, Valerie Flanigan, P.W. Quails, and Gail Strader. Later affairs attracted Liz Allgeir, Sylvia Ansey, Linda Ballou, Lelia Conrade, Jo Ann Grey, Barb and Chuck Hostler, Jim Long, Melvin and Jackie Milstein, Suzanne Morrow, Virginia Reed, Terry Sachko, Doris Smith, Dr. Aubrey and Doris Sparks, Ev Ulinger, Suzan Watts and Eleanore Young.
When operations became more formalized, an “honor roll” was set up at the instigation of Bud House, listing on bronze tabs the names of those who have rung up 200 hours or more of lab time. That list currently has these names: Ella May Ablahat, Jean Belkman, John Dante, Jan Gooding, Art and Lynn Lee, Elizabeth McCarthy, Lois Polewka and Jack Thompson.
SHARK TEETH AND VOODOO
These names do not constitute a full roster of those that have helped make the lab what it is, but they are what has floated to the surface of meager records and a fallible memory. An interesting side note on human nature has been provided by the makeup of lab workers. Those who slug through the detail, day in and day out, are willing to put up with something less than climactic excitement to achieve the end result – another footnote in the history of this area, another view of it early inhabitants. Through their lens, minor changes in pottery decoration, identification of an animal tooth, loom large.
Some come to the lab in search of peace. Over time we have been helped by individuals recently displaced physically, who are still adjusting to this part of the world. Others have found it to be a place where physical wounds can heal; there have been several who have there waited out a time of recuperation analyzing shell or bone.
Visitors, too, arrive through varied motivation. Several times a year the lab is visited by people who have found something on the beach; some leave overjoyed at having found something identifiable with the ancient people; others are disappointed at not having discovered an object that they could sell for thousands. There is a thin but steady stream of visitors who have found everything from a carved voodoo fetish to a silver Calusa tablet; the state’s mines provide a continuing flow of people referred to the lab by the Museum with their Pleistocene shark’s teeth or bits of mastodon; Jean Belknap’s reference books are of great service to them.
In this regard, and in maintaining an informative display of objects in the large window, the lab serves as a contributing adjunct to the Museum, as do its occasional symposia and lectures. The Museum is one of the few in the United States to have its own archaeological laboratory. SWFAS’s formal reports are published as a part of a Museum technical reports series. A subliminal message is passed to those who look through the window at the workers inside: “Here are grown people putting in time and effort to learn and preserve the history of this place.” (One member of a fourth -grade class looking at the people at their tables, asked: “Are they real?”) Archaeology classes from the Florida Gulf Coast University have a chance to see the physical – as opposed to the classroom and textual side of the profession.
HISTORY OF THE CRAIGHEAD LABORATORY: PART VII
by Arthur R. Lee, SWFAS Newsletter, June 2000
A PEAK UNDER THE CURTAIN
Are there more tangible evidences of the results of these efforts by so many over such a long span of time? Lab workers have no way of knowing all of the uses to which their contributions to other organizations’ projects have been put, but it has pleased them to identify some of their work in others’ reports. In a field which yields many suggestions, hints, and possibilities, it is highly satisfying to reflect on solid findings. Like discovering identical mid/late Archaic tool manufacturing techniques on sand dunes on both Marco and Useppa Islands, separated by many miles; like confirming pottery differences which help in delineating the line between Glades and Caloosahatchee areas; of raising at least the fringe of the curtain hiding the events of the mid-Archaic period which saw the tumultuous transition between the early Archaic era with its upland oriented culture and the well-watered terminal Archaic period whose people looked to the sea. Lab workers have watched the development of estuaries and shallow watery meadows by their identification of shellfish remains; seen how voyagers packed their trail food, read the rise and fall of sea levels in the changes of shellfish harvests; spotted crossroad meeting places between East coast and the Southwest populations. They believe they have worked out at least the approximate location of early waterways, and having seen the shift from societies using no ceramics to those making fiber tempering, and finally sand tempering – a sequence known elsewhere, now more firmly established in Southwest Florida. The discovery of Lucy? Not exactly. But maybe a chromosome or two?
Which is a way of responding to the question as to weather the lab has been fulfilling the mission it accepted at the outset: Advancing the cause of archaeology in this part of the world, and helping the Museum to meet its function of preserving history and imparting knowledge of it.